Ellen Burgan joins us from If It Brings You Joy where she shares her passion to practice, and teach, a healthful lifestyle.
How to Make Easy, Healthy Meals Fast
By Ellen Burgan
Although sometimes it’s fun to take your time cooking in the kitchen, we all have times that we want our healthy meals fast.
[ctt template=”8″ link=”cwaS7″ via=”yes” ]Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to minimize meal prep time yet still provide a healthy meal. Here’s my top tips.[/ctt]
Freezer Tips from Someone Who isn’t a Fan of Freezer Food
I’m not always a fan of freezing leftovers, but there are a few cooked foods that freeze well and are particularly convenient to have on-hand for busy days so you can get that healthy meal fast.
First, it really takes no longer to brown five pounds of hamburger as it does one pound.
Make at least a triple batch and freeze it in meal size portions. You’ll thank yourself the next time you make tacos, chili, or sloppy joes and have most of the work and mess already done.
Even better, while you’re making tacos, chili, or sloppy joes, make a triple or quadruple batch. Again, it takes no longer to cook than a single batch, and it’s just as good or better the second time around. Freeze the extra in your family’s meal size portions. I also freeze some in single size portions which are so nice to take to work for lunch. I grab a container out of the freezer on my way to work in the morning, and it’s thawed by lunch break. So easy and delicious.
Finally, one of my favorite freezer tips is both a timesaver and a money saver.
I often find that I don’t use a whole stalk of celery before it goes bad. If you don’t think you’ll use the whole stalk, chop the celery and place in a plastic freezer bag. The celery can then be used for casseroles, soups, etc. This same tip works for onions. There’s no need to cook them first, just chop and freeze. With a little bang on the counter, you can remove only the amount of frozen celery or onion that you need.
Be conscious of what you have in your freezer, and use it within a month or two.
Also, be sure to label your container. I always think I’ll remember what’s in a container, but a few weeks down the road I have mystery food in my freezer. I use masking tape for labeling.
Easy, Adaptable, Yet Healthy Go-To Healthy Meals Fast
- My favorite go-to recipe is what I call Fajitas, but there’s actually no recipe needed.
Fajitas are delicious, healthy, and most prep work can even be done ahead of time. You don’t need a recipe because the joy of fajitas is you can make them with whatever ingredients you like and have on-hand. Sauté any or all of the following ingredients:
- Green/red/yellow bell peppers
- Green onions
- Tomatoes (or keep them fresh and use as a topping)
- Any other veggie you might want to use up!
Place the cooked mixture on a soft flour or corn tortilla, roll and eat. Alternatively, I like to place it on a flat tortilla, add shredded cheese, top with another tortilla, and cook with a small amount of cooking oil. This option is a cross between fajitas and quesadillas. Top with salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, lettuce, and/or tomatoes.
- Bulk up an ordinary sandwich to create an ultimate sandwich.
Yes, sandwiches do qualify as a meal. By adding a few extra ingredients, a simple sandwich becomes more healthy, filling and tasty. Again, there’s no exact recipe, just use what you have and like.
For example, for BLTs, you, of course, start with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. No bacon? No problem. Substitute sliced turkey for the bacon. Leave it cold or pan fry it to heat it up and bring out the flavors. Be sure to go heavy with the tomato and lettuce for extra low-calorie nutrition.
My favorite additional ingredients for any sandwich are avocado, banana peppers, fresh spinach, and any color bell pepper. Try topping your sandwich with fresh ground pepper and sea salt. A pickle on the side always gives a good crunch.
For a low carb or gluten free option, eat your sandwich as a lettuce roll-up rather than using bread. If you serve it with bread or bun, heat it in a 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes for a nice hot sandwich.
One other alternative is to use whipped avocado instead of mayo. Egg salad sandwiches taste excellent when the mayo is substituted with whipped avocado. This is a super low-cost meal, and eggs are extremely healthy.
Finally, plan your meals out for a week. Planning saves time and money. Write your plans down so you can reuse them every few weeks. (No sense reinventing the wheel!)
I hope these ideas spark some creativity you can add to your meals.
I have to say that I am a big fan of avocado in place of mayo and also I love guacamole. Plus that recipe link was a shameless plug for Young Master Chef Ho’s guacamole.
Here are a few other options that come together quickly:
Plus, turning to the crock pot or Instant Pot is always helpful but now I would love to hear more from you.
What are your go-to meals when you want healthy food fast?
I will be linking this post up to the parties that are listed on my Party With Me page. If you are a blogger you should go link up too. If you are not then you still should go there are check out all of the greatness. Also, check out my Tip Tuesday Link Party that runs every Tuesday through Friday and We Are Pinnable. I am the guest host for July.